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superdelicious. >> reporter: can't say that about a telephone pole that looks like a holy chia pet. jeanne moos cnn -- >> he's trying to speak to us. >> reporter: what is she saying? >> call your mother. i'm wolf blitzer in "the situation room." for the international viewers, "world report" is next, but in north america, "john king, usa" starts right now. good evening, everyone. we're live on capitol hill tonight where a dramatic issue is unfolding that affeeffects yt home and the global economy. that could be the house hoping to go forward today with its plan to give the president the authority to raise the government's credit line, the debt ceiling, but also to enact some spending cuts. that vote was supposed to be a little more than an hour ago. but look at this right now, the house floor not there, and the house is in recess, because the speaker of the house, republican john boehner, still a few votes short as he tries to muscle his plan through the house of representatives and send the message to the democrat-controlled senate and
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the democratic-controlled white house. however, we're in limbo tonight as this drama plays out. the speaker in his office with his top deputies. we're told pizza brought in a short time ago. they're trying desperately to round up the last few votes they need to get this vote through the house tonight. the vote has been delayed, not postponed. the house leadership still plans to have the vote this evening, but the speaker likely to cancel it if they can't get the votes instead of suffering what would be a humiliating debate -- defeat, excuse me. the speaker started the day upbeat and he had a news earlier in the day and he said his plan was the only plan that would please his conservative majority and he said meet most of the president's standards. >> throughout this debate we've promised the american people that we'd cut spending more than what we would increase the debt limit. and we also said that we would not entertain any increases in taxes. so, today the house is going to vote on a bill that meets that test. it's been certified by the nonpartisan congressional budget
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office. there are no gimmicks. there are no smokescreens. >> and it looked like that conservatives were making progress. the speaker making progress. at the white house, though, they decided to send a very clear signal that this plan was not acceptable. why doesn't the white house like it? because you would have a temporary increase in the debt ceiling for now, then the president would have to come back several months from now in the middle of his 2012 re-election campaign and ask again for the congress to increase the debt ceiling, to come forward, again, with a package of spending cuts. from the white house perspective to perhaps again make his cases that the taxes on the wealthy americans should be raised, so the white house saying to speaker boehner, that your plan is no good at 1600 pennsylvania avenue. >> what we need to do is get beyond voting dead on arrival measures when we have few days left. >> it looked like the speaker was making progress. one of the key questions, what about the new members elected, that made him the speaker? gave republicans, that gave them the majority, this was their defining issue to come to
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washington to put an end to what they viewed as reckless definite spending destroyping ting the c. and he appeared to be picking up the votes. lesson to shawn duffy. >> is this as big as we wanted to go? heck, no. we wanted to go bigger. we ran on going bigger. but this is the only proposal on the table that accomplishes the goals that we set out to do. >> progress but apparently and this is why we have such a drama unfolding on capitol hill, not enough progress. the speaker is still short the votes. he's delayed the key vote, a key vote to not only if you are sitting at home, maybe you think the debt ceiling should be raised, maybe you should, it's a fundamentally important political showdown, some people think the speaker's hold on his job could be in jeopardy if he loses this vote. let's go to kate bolduan, do they believe they can twist enough arms to get enough votes to pass this tonight? >> reporter: fabulous question this evening and one that is
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very hard to answer at this moment. i can tell you, let me just give you the lay of the land what you can probably see a little bit of, john, you were talking about the speaker's office, it's right down the hallway, what we're seeing now rank-and-file members going in and out of the house speaker's office. as we're being told, members coming out, they have told me that the leadership is asking for their vote. apparent at this point as they've called a recess that the leaders are still working at this late hour, still working to try to secure the votes, and that they're not there yet. and they clearly want certainty that they are going to have the votes before they take this back up to the floor. i'll tell you, congressman paul ryan, the chair of the house budget committee, he did speak with reporters, my colleague deidra walsh, one of them, and he's been helping the leadership in trying to get members on board with their lobbying effort. and he told -- and he told reporters that things are coming along, but, of course, john, as you know, things are very much in flux at this moment. they are hunkered down trying to
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secure the votes, trying to twist the arms as we say, and right now it looks like they intend to have the vote, that's what aides tell us, at this moment, but we'll, of course, have to be following that. >> kate bolduan will stay with us throughout the evening as we track this drama. two votes the speaker would like to have but he does not have two members of the republican class, two that campaigned in the midterm elections saying send me to washington and i'll try to bring fiscal sanity to the country, they are facing a key challenge not only in their individual careers but as the new republican majority tries to prove its the governing majority in washington. they are with me this evening. gentlemen, the spook speaker do have your votes. anything that he can do at the last minute to convince you to support this plan? >> i cannot support this plan. i would love to be able to support speaker boehner, leader cantor. i have to have something that transcends election cycles. i have to have something systemic that guarantees the 75th time we raise the debt
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ceiling it's the last time we raise the debt ceiling. and absent that transformative, systemic remedy, i can't support it. >> and yet, congressman, the speaker came into your caucus meeting yesterday, i was told he was quite emotional, forgive me for using the language, you need to get your asse s in line behind him, if you want to get in line wi behind them, you have to approve his plan. could his speakership be undermined if he loses this vote, and that doesn't have enough power to sway you. >> no, we're all behind the speaker and leader eric cantor. and they've done a great job. but i think trey also nailed it, we want to make sure we never get here again. i want to support something that makes sure we never get here again and last week a lot of us rank-and-file republicans believed we voted for something that would do that, cut, cap and balance, and it would be something the american people support, and, you know, that's something that i wish we'd,
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again, send back to the senate. >> i under thastand that, but w now at a point, though, where we're having a fifth grade syncs lesson. you control the house of representatives. the democrats control the other side of capitol hill on the senate side. you have a democratic president a mile or so down the road. is your position, no, you won't budge and compromise and go their way, even if -- even if -- we get to august 2nd and the country goes into default? >> i would argue to you that many of us have already compromised, we've already voted twice to raise the debt ceiling. it was implicit in paul ryan's budget. it was explicit in cut, cap and balance. so, i've already voted to raise the debt ceiling twice. what i have to have is a guarantee where i can take back to the people i work for that we have done something to bend the spending arc. not a plan, not a deal, but a solution that transcends election cycles. i'm not concerned about
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president obama's election cycle. i'm not concerned about mine. you can have this job if you'll give me the systemic remedy that means we don't have to have this conversation again. i won't come back if you can give me that remedy. >> so, what happens if the senate defeats -- let's assume the house can get together enough votes and i'm not sure that's a good assumption tonight, but let's assume the speaker wiggles this one out, the senate votes down his plan, and senator reid is prepared to do it tonight. there might be someone watching at home, in your district or somewhere else, if we get to the point of default, people say everybody's interest rates goes up, the possibility that the job market which is already tough would get worse, that there would be a domestic economic impact potentially a huge one and a global economic impact. are you willing to defend your principles to take that risk? >> i think we all need to take a breath. i don't think default is an option and trey and i aren't talking about default. this whole obsession with august 2nd from the beginning i don't think has been helpful.
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let's take a few days and get this right. we know in august our government's going to have plenty of revenues to service our debt, take care of our military and take care of our senior citizens. too often the white house in this debate hasn't been real productive because they've been trying to scare the american people. let's take a few days and get this right. >> but the government is projected to take in about $172 billion next month if you add up the bills that we know we'll get, they're in exemption of $300 billion, so something has to give, somebody wouldn't get food stamps, federal workers wouldn't get paid, payments wouldn't go out, somebody wouldn't get paid, are you prepared to say, i'm sorry, but we may have to have that conversation, we may have to decide whether you get your food stamps or you get your military check, captain, because this is an important point? >> well, there are five organization bills that are pending in the house right now that would set the priorities and direct secretary geithner what to pay. so, i would say this, that the dichotomy of default or not default is a false dichotomy.
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the real dichotomy is default or downgrade. and all the ratings agencies have said, a default is cataclysmic, nobody wants that, but do you want a downgra, beca that's a tax on everyone, it raises your interest rates and if we don't bend the spending arc, we'll get a downgrade. the real conundrum is not default or not default, it's default, downgrade or a systemic fix and i want a systemic fix. >> any concern at all as you defend what is your principle that what might happen in the end is if the house and the senate can't reconcile and everybody blinks, that president gets the authority to raise the debt ceiling and you don't get anything, you don't get a down payment, i know you think the current plan is insufficient, but it's a down payment to what you want. if the speaker doesn't get the two votes, are you concerned by standing firm you could actually lose more than you gained? >> absolutely. but, again, i think the american people are behind us. your own station took a poll
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last week that showed most of the american people supported this notion of cut, cap and balance. i think it could be terribly producti productive, again, if we sent that to the senate and they can amend it and send it back to us. that would be a real systemic reform like trey's talking about. >> appreciate your time tonight. the speaker's office is trying to grab you on the way out. they're serving pizza. >> i'm eating in tonight. >> gentlemen, i really appreciate it. >> thank you, john. let's bring into the conversation erick erickson, he's the editor in chief of, he's urging them to hold firm and our chief political analyst joining us, gloria borger. you said the boehner plan is not enough, are you prepared to have the speaker lose or pull from the floor and not have a vote on something that is incredibly consequential to his leadership, never mind the country? >> oh, you know, i don't think it's that consequential to his leadership. i don't remember this conversation about whether nancy
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pelosi would lose her speakership if obama care couldn't pass the house. i think that that's not really true. the speaker will still be the speaker, but if he continues to make people mad, the boeing legislation is being delayed, that could hurt, but, no, i think it would be a great night for the country if john boehner's plan was denied. put it in perspective, john, last week the entire conservative movement was unified behind republicans and five democrats in the house, all the republicans in the senate on a plan and this week the speaker couldn't make that the foundation for compromise. he said he had to go with the second plan. >> gloria, if the speaker has to pull this vote tonight and he fails, he loses tonight, what happens? >> well, i disagree with erik, because i think it's bad for the speaker. and i think the country is stuck. i mean, i think harry reid would then proceed, but, of course, his plan would go nowhere. so, i think you'd be sort of back to back-channel
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negotiations which haven't really been able to occur because, of course, the senate republican leader, mitch mcconnell, backs john boehner's plan. but, you know, in looking at those two congressmen, john, it seems to me what we're watching are congressmen who believe they came to washington to be transformational, and they don't want anything less than that. and the speaker is trying to twist the arms of members of congress who don't feel beholden to him, and you know this, john, better than i do, that it always helps when people are elected and they feel that they owe you something. these members of congress, these freshmen, they don't owe the establishment republicans anything. >> we'll keep checking in on capitol hill with our sources here, if you're just joining us, the speaker of the house, john boehner, delaying his vote on the plan to give the authority to raise the debt ceiling and enact some spending cuts. conservative members of his own caucus says it's not enough. then, of course, we'd have to go to the united states senate where the democratic leader says
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he has a plan. when we come back, a democratic senator who says, no, mr. leader, i'm not for that one either. network. a living, breathing intelligence that's helping drive the future of business. in here, inventory can be taught to learn. ♪ machines have a voice. ♪ medical history follows you. it's the at&t network -- a network of possibilities... committed to delivering the most advanced mobile broadband experience to help move business... forward. ♪
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to help move business... forward. somewhere in america, a city comes to life. it moves effortlessly, breathes easily. it flows with clean water. it makes its skyline greener and its population healthier. all to become the kind of city people want to live and work in. somewhere in america, we've already answered some of the nation's toughest questions. and the over sixty thousand people of siemens are ready to do it again. siemens. answers.
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live images here of the united states capitol on the floor of the united states senate. a night of dramatic breaking news on capitol hill. the senate waiting to see if the house will pass its plan to raise the debt ceiling and to cut some federal spending. that was the house plan tonight, to pass that plan and send it to the senate. the republican house speaker,
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though, has put that all on hold. he's in his office right now because he's short the vote. it's a landmark vote, he's short the vote to pass his plan which would cut $900 billion in spending and give the administration the authority to borrow more money to keep the government up and running. in the senate democratic leader harry reid has a different plan, his plan would be $2 trillion in cuts and raise the debt ceiling through the 2012 presidential election. our next guest says he would vote no on the house republican plan and the democratic senate plan, he's democratic senator joe manchin from west virginia. i want to ask you, as a new member of the senate and a former governor, if you're going to vote no, you would vote no on both plans. how does the country avoid default and meet the house republican test and they do control one side of capitol hill, to cut spending? >> let me tell you, the purpose for me to go to the floor tonight, today, was to basically apologize to my fellow west virginians and all americans for what they've had to endure and witness. with that being said, i believe there is a plan that can be
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worked. i appreciate all the parties involved, the speaker, of course, my majority leader, harry reid, working very hard. the one i think will work is the parallel. i've got to vote for a long-term fix. i didn't come here to kick the can down the road short. we got two plans, short and shorter. and we've got to fix it for the long term, i think it's been pretty well mapped out. we need a $4 trillion swing in order to get it to downward glide to get the financial house of ours in order. and i want to see a guaranteed vote. so, if we're going to do, raise the debt, let's make sure we have a guaranteed vote to fix the debt. >> so, you want a guaranteed vote to have at least $4 trillion in deficit reduction over ten years, but would you vote on a shorter-term plan that had a smaller target if you were promised that would you get that second installment? >> oh, i think absolutely. if i was promised -- and i think the promise to the american people is that there's a shorter period of time that we're going to be able to put together a plan that gives us a minimum of a $4 trillion fix.
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which is what all the ratings agencies and everybody has evaluated and if you have that running parallel and you can get to that point but you can also make sure that we do not default, but the most important thing also is make sure that the credit rating is not downgraded. john, that can be as bad if not worse, because i've seen the state, in my state, sometimes, we were challenged, and it's hard to raise a debt -- a major credit rating, and it takes an awful lot of time to do that. so, you got to be very careful what we're doing here. >> i spent a lot of time in your state over the years, especially in recent years, and it's having a tough time in like many places in west virginia. maybe some in west virginia are saying good for you, senator manchin, and you have your views, and you're firm on them, and you heard the tea party members who said they have their plans. everybody has their nonnegotiatables and we're days away from the potential default of the united states government if somebody in your state is applying for a mortgage they're told next week the interest rates could go up, your credit
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card rates might go up, even harder to get a job in this economy. as a former governor, how do we get something done in the next 72 hours when everybody says, well, i want to be for this, but i'm non-negotiable on this? >> it's a shame we're down to 72 hours, but when i became governor, we set our course on getting our financial house in order. we had surpluses for six years in a row, the last three years we've increased our credit rating. not by expanding government and raising taxes, living within our means, picking our priorities. we didn't cut any programs whatsoever. it's time for a correction. i understand that. but you have to have a balance of revenue through waste, fraud, and abuse, making sure everybody's paying their fair share, and also to make sure that we're living within our means. we haven't made that commitment yet and it has to be done. the $4 trillion downward glide has to be accomplished, and everybody has said that. and i think it's imperative that -- for us to do it now. the time is right to do it now.
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and just saying, well, we have $2 trillion or $900 billion and that gets us down to next year or right after 2012, what about 2013 and beyond? i'm worried about the next generation, not the next election. >> take me behind the curtain. we have the republicans saying our plan. they're having trouble getting the votes tonight, but they say their plan is the best plan. senator reid said his plan is the best plan, the white house says their approach is the best approach. take us behind the curtain. are there conversations that convince you after what i'll call political posturing or political flag planting, is the president working the phones, should the president be working the phones? is there something going on after we get through planting the flags on the republican house and the democratic senate that we actually get this done before the deadline? >> well, i can only tell you as a governor, i was definitely on the phones, i was in their face on the phones, setting down continuously with the front row and the back row. >> should the president do that? >> everybody has their style.
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i am not going to tell him what he should and shouldn't do. i respect the president and he does what he thinks is right. this is the time when it's crunch time, you have to put the full-court press on, and that takes all of us. but we got to make sure we step forward they are this country and right now people are disgusted and that's why i apologized. i really mean it. i'm sorry to endure it or have to watch people that have to set back and be part of this process. it's just not right. it's not who we are as americans. we can do better. we've got to do better, john. and i think a parallel plan if they come out and say, well, fine, we're going to get this and get our debt ceiling taken care of to make sure we don't default, we're also going to take care of our credit rating, our long-term responsibility. you can do all of that, and basically start moving this country in a path of fiscal responsibility. i think it has to be done. you have the bowles and simpson plan that was put out there, the debt commission, it came out over nine months ago. you have the gang of six. we had 50 senators, 25 democrats and 25 republicans.
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they were very enthused. the only bipartisan effort that we've got. and, you know, i'm sure there's going to be some tweaking. they have a commission they want to put together, that would be fine. just make sure you have a trigger that there's a guaranteed vote before the end of this year. >> joe manchin, the democratic senator from west virginia, making clear tonight he will not support the house republican plan, nor will he support his democratic leader's plan, senator reid. we appreciate your time tonight. >> thank you. another new member of the senate who has also planted a flag who says he wants to see a bigger deficit reduction plan, he wants a constitutional amendment requiring washington every year to balance the books. senator rand paul of kentucky with us in just a moment, after this quick break. [ male announcer ] a moment that starts off ordinary can become romantic just like that. a spark might come from -- a touch, a glance -- it can come along anywhere, anytime. and when it does, men with erectile dysfunction can be more confident in their ability to be ready with cialis for daily use.
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live pictures of the capitol there, and the other picture you see might not look as dramatic, but the message is dramatic. the breaking news on capitol hill, the house is in recess. the house leadership had planned to vote on its plan to raise the debt ceiling and to cut some spending. the house speaker, john boehner, his deputy, the majority leader, eric cantor, unable as yet to come up with the votes tonight. we're told a short time ago, they walked together, speaker boehner, lead eer cantor to the republican whip, tonight they are a few votes shy of a majority, so they delayed a vote that was supposed to take place in the early evening hours here.
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let's quickly show you what the boehner plan would do. it would raise the debt ceiling by a total of $2.5 trillion and it would cut spending by $900 million and it would appoint a commissioner that would cut spending by another $6 trillion. the democratic leader there says he has a plan in the senate, harry reid would raise the debt ceiling by $2.4 trillion and it would cut $2.2 trillion in spending over the next decade including savings account for scaling back the wars in afghanistan and iraq. let's talk now to a new member of the senate who opposes both of these plans. he says they don't do enough to bring fiscal sanity to washington, senator rand paul, republican of kentucky, is with us this evening. senator paul, the conservatives in the house can't round up the votes to pass their plan. speaker reid probably has 52 or 53 for his, but he doesn't have the 60 votes he would need to get it through the senate. we're days away from a potential default. would you prefer default to
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either of these two plans. >> no. but the interesting thing is the conservatives did round up the votes. the conservatives in the senate and the house. we got 234 votes in the house last week for cut, cap and balance to balance the budget and to raise the debt ceiling the full $2 trillion, exactly what the president wants. it's interesting the dynamic here because some are saying we're unwilling to compromise. we already offered the president $2 trillion increase in the debt ceiling. all we want in exchange is a balanced budget amendment to the constitution. >> you have made that point, and the republicans have been very clear that you also won't accept a tax increases, some of the tax increases the president would want, he would call them revenue increases. as it plays out, we've seen a generational split in the republican party, some of what i'll call the old guard, folks who have been here a while, say do you know what, we need to get this done and not default for the first time in history. senator john mccain who 2 1/2 years ago was the republican nominee for the president was on the floor of the senate yesterday.
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he was saying that, look, you don't have the votes to get a balanced budget amendment to the o constitution, so new members should put it aside and move on. i want you to listen to senator mccain as he read from an editorial here as he was making his d his point. >> and the tea party hobbits could return to middle earth, having defeated mordor. this is the kind of crack political thinking that turned sharron angle and christine o'donnell into gop senate nominees. >> you were a member of the new tea party class, christine o'donnell and sharron angle, didn't make it, you did. what's your message to senator mccain? >> well, not directly to him but those who love "lords of the ring" i would rather be a hobbit than a troll. and the hobbits were the good guys. they were the heroes in the battle for middle earth for the battle for good and evil. it is evil to put these bills on
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to the next generation and not pay them now. the reason i'm against the boehner plan and against the reid plan is both of them will add $7 trillion to $8 trillion of debt in the next ten years. i don't think we have ten years to add trillions more debt to the country. >> and so help us understand. you're not going to get -- you made the case for cut, cap and balance. the president said he won't sign it. leader reid won't bring to the floor of the senate. he has the power and authority, and the president has the veto pen. no matter their political persuasion, who if we default might see higher interest rates, moo mig might see a hit to an already struggling job market, how would you get us out of this? >> i'm willing to negotiate. ours is the only plan that passed any house, so give us some credit of actually getting together a coalition of republicans and democrats and we pass ed the house. i'm willing to talk to the president. i sent a letter to the president today. i'm willing to accept most of what he wants, cuts, the caps he
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wants, and i'm willing to give him beyond -- i know he's concerned about having time to fund raise, i'm willing to let him get out on the campaign and fund raise and not have to worry about this. we'll give him $2 trillion, all we want is a promise that we'll balance the budget, and it would be over a seven- to eight-year period, is that too much to ask? >> senator rand paul of kentucky, appreciates your time. let's put your question to gene spurling at the white house, he's the president's director of the national economic council. gene spurling, is it too much to ask, for the president to support a balanced budget amendment if he had a seven, or eight or ten-year path to get there? >> first of all, john, i won't be nearly as good at my "lord of the ring" analogies as senator paul was. but what we've been pushing was compromise. what you heard was senator paul giving his heartfelt views of what is a very, very conservative perspective and i know he believes it sincerely. the president has put forward his plan, too, which we would like to get letter for letter.
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but that's not how we're going to break this logjam and break the stalemate. we're going to do that by compromise, and i think everyone has seen that president obama has been willing to compromise on -- in a variety of ways, and if we can just get a good down payment on deficit reduction, you know, right now we're willing to do quite a lot in spending cuts on the down payment. come back and do entitlement reform and tax reform that will help bring down the deficit in the more significant way that president obama wants to and make sure we're not allowing the cloud of default to hang over our economy at this critical time, push it out of the way for the next year and a half or two, we can -- we can reach a compromise, and the president has asked repeatedly, all the fascination today on the house vote is nice, but it's really irrelevant. it's dead on arrival in the senate. so, we really need the leaders on all sides to get together and say, what now, and what now is an honorable compromise where we do what's best for the country
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and get this debt limit passed, debt a deficit reduction down payment and take the specker and cloud of default off our economy. >> geenle spune spurling, you s house vote is irrelevant because it's dead on arrival. on that standard i could make that any vote on the senate plan is irrelevant because it's dead on arrival because the house speaker said it won't pass here. in the time of divided government, who will help negotiate a deal? you served in the clinton administration when he had a republican house under the speakership of newt gingrich and there were many times when you made the case in those days, president clinton made the case that whatever newt gingrich and the house was doing was irrelevant, of course, it wasn't in the end they had to figure something out. why hasn't the president called the speaker today? why hasn't the president called leader mcconnell on the senate side today to try to get republicans? why not? >> john, john, you know as well as anyone that this was the president who brought together a bipartisan process that joe biden our vice president led, that eric cantor was at every
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meeting, that he went through two serious negotiations with the speaker of the house. i promise you, this president wants nothing more than to get negotiations with speaker boehner and the republicans and democratic leaders. that's what we're calling for. that's why he went on national tv and called for bipartisan compromise, stow thethere's no this town that wants to bring everybody together and get a compromise right now more than this president. and i think everyone back home who is just wondering why we can't like other people just compromise and do something that takes a little bit from everyone and does what's best for the country. >> now, you say everyone back home. everybody watching at home. here's something everyone back home watching is hearing. i know when the president was negotiating with speaker boehner that they were discussing things and some of them ended up on paper, but nothing has come out officially from the white house saying this is the president's plan. and so you have people like congresswoman michele bachmann who would like to be the president's opponent in 2012
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going around the country saying this -- >> the federal debt has -- deficit and the federal debt both are in shambles. at least that's the way the american people see it. and still the president has no plan. it's unthinkable but he still has no plan. >> gene spurling, now that we are at this moment where the house leadership is trying to round up the votes, we'll see if they get tonight. leader reid says he has a majority for his plan but there's no indication that he has anywhere near the 60 votes he needs in the senate. the house said it won't take the senate plan, the senate said it won't take the house plan. should the president maybe go to the american people not just with a speech but a plan on paper, look at this, it's reasonable, why can't we do this? >> as you know, the president put out a detailed framework of $4 trillion over 12 years and we do have a plan, but we all know what you're seeing right now is everybody with their preferred ideal plan. it's not the lack of people putting out their preferred,
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ideal plan that has put our country on the cusp of default for the first time in our histo history. reason we're having difficulty is that people are not getting together and taking a piece from each of their plans and doing something that extends the debt limit into 2013, that has the compromise on the type of deficit reduction we need, and brings us back to do a more serious second round of deficit reduction through a tax reform and entitlement reform. we're so close to compromise. there's so many people in this town that want to do it, so with all due respect, you know, the president can put out his ideal plan tomorrow, but that's not the leadership we need. we need the leaders of each party in the house and senate to be willing to compromise. no one's been more willing to do that than this president. he's been willing to do very deep spending cuts, some very controversial with our party, with our supporters, but he's done that as part of trying to be for an honorable compromise for deficit reduction, even if it's not exactly the composition we'd like because we have
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divided government and divided government in a time of economic turmoil requires compromise. so, we're divided, but not dysfunctional. >> let me ask you lastly, gene spurling, we'll see what happens, we'll see if the house can get the votes tonight. we'll see chraps what happens i senate. most people are hoping they get a compromise by the august 2 nd but if we get to august 3rd and the bills higher than the amount of money coming in, maybe there's somebody wearing the uniform watching tonight, i'm sure people with social security checks watching tonight, and people that get food stamps watching tonight, explain how the federal government will decide who gets a check and who doesn't? >> what i'd explain to them that obviously our treasury department is doing contingency planning. but obviously there are no good options if we do not reach an agreement that prevents us from going into default. there are no good options, all of it is unthinkable.
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and everyone's focus should be on right now and all of the pressure should be for our leaders to be responsible and find that compromise. what we don't want is just a plan that will have us debating whether we're going to default at christmastime. that is not going to be good for our economy. we need something that pushes things down the road. just like in 2003. many of the republicans agreed to extend the debt limit for over 17 months when president bush was president. so, it's nonpartisan. it is not political. it's just the right thing to do for our economy right now. >> gene spurling making those points, my friend, i tell you there's nothing that's not partisan and political in washington right now for better or worse, but we appreciate your perspective, gene spurling who is the director of the national economic council at the white house, one of the president's top advisers, on this crisis, thanks for your time. when we come back we'll check in with our reporters, again, the house republican leadership delaying a vote on its plan to raise the debt ceiling and cut spending, the
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august 2nd deadline fast approaching. also, again, exclusive insight from james carville and mary matalin, both of whole have not only played big roles in campaigns, but also big roles with presidents who have governed at a time of divided government. asional constipation, diarrhea, gas and bloating. with three strains of good bacteria to help balance your colon. you had me at "probiotic." [ female announcer ] phillips' colon health.
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five images of the white house and the capitol tonight, it's fair to make the statement that on this evening at least washington is broken. the house republican leadership delaying a planned vote on its
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plan to raise the debt ceiling, to let the government borrow more money in exchange for some spending cuts. house republicans now trying to muster votes to pass the plan. waiting, of course, and watching anxiously is the president of the united states. let's check in our chief white house jessica yellin, you have a house plan in trouble, you have a senate democratic plan that likely has a majority, but doesn't have a path there. what does the president of the united states do to avoid default and get the two little family feud ended here? >> reporter: all he can do at this moment is wait, john. but there's no love lost at this very moment for speaker boehner and his bill right now. the problem for the white house is this is all more delay. they've been waiting for speaker boehner to have this vote, get it over with, so they can get over to the senate where the democrats have a little bit more control. and this vote is just dragging things on, dragging this out, and causing only more frustration and delay. the one thing they don't have is time.
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>> they don't have time. with the deadline looming, any indication the president's going to -- in the past when things have broken down, he's called everybody to the white house. it hasn't worked in the past. any thoughts that he might do it again? >> reporter: there's no indication that he will. we've asked if they've been talking and they haven't been talking. the foe dus is on the senate and getting senator reid and mcconnell, who are leaders there to talk to each other and dut their own deal. whether the president will get in the mix there, i don't know. but the focus is for them to do their own negotiating over the weekend and take action themselves to get it back to the house by sunday, john. and whether the president will get involved we'll have to see in the coming days. >> a complicated process. jessica yellin working her sources at the white house. i did speak to someone on capitol hill that said the vice president called senator mcconnell earlier this week, but it was not to negotiate, just to check in and say how things are going. let's talk to two veterans who have advised presidents in tense moments in the oval office and
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know a lot, quite a bit a lot about political campaigns, james carville and mary matalin joining us from their home in new orleans. mary, i want to go to you first, because it's the speaker's credibility that is on the line, if john boehner scheduled the vote and can't get a majority, what happens? >> well, john boehner has already moved mountains. it's a herculean task. the house is the only body that has passed a real budget. the senate hasn't passed a budget. the president doesn't have a budget. john boehner's leadership, the house passed a real compromise here in the spending bill that they sent over before that was roundly rejected. so, it's to the senate. if there's any rekcarecalcitran going on here, it's the senate. president obama famously said to
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eric cantor at the beginning of the president's tenure, believing that the president did want to work with -- with republicans, and obama said, we won. well, i think the republicans are treating this president far more respectfully and offering far more compromises than obama ever offered to them, i don't think it's john boehner's credibility, those members were elected as were governors across the country, as were state legislators across the country to get government spending under control and that's what they're going to do and they're going to go down fighting to get it done. >> james, mary says they'll go down fighting to get it done. this is without a doubt, it's fascinating and sometimes fun mitt cal the political theater, but the problem is it has enormous policy complications. here's what would happen in terms of a default, it would be more expensive to borrow money, if you are concerned about the deficit, guess what, it could cost more. there could be loss of jobs and it would cost more for credit cards, some think it would lower home values and perhaps lower
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people's retirement savings if you have trouble in the stock market and all that. mr. carville, you worked with mr. clinton closely in a time of divided government, where is the fix here? >> i'll be honest with you, right now they can't get the votes, they can't get 25 republicans to deal with the boehner plan, so it's not very likely that they'll come back and be able to get something out of conference committee and get that. assuming they get this out tonight. obviously from where i sitting, i'm sure you draw the same conclusion, they don't have the votes right now. i suspect that they'll get them later on tonight. but i suspect that they'll have them by 5:30 this afternoon. it's evident to me that they're not going to pass any compromise out of the house of representati representatives. if they're going to fix this, they're going to have to go back and try to draw up some grand bargain which will get some republican votes and some democratic votes. they're not going to be able to -- nothing will pass the senate and come to the house and get all republican votes that i see. i may be wrong, but i don't see it because right now if they get this boehner plan out, it's
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going to need two or three votes. >> john, the biggest hold -- >> go ahead. no, you go ahead. >> the biggest holdup and you hit the nail on nail on the hea asking our mutual friend. it's all political. the president's desire to not have the debate before the election. the polls are out. he cannot continue to have this conversation. people are reminded of the massive debt he's run up. that's what's hold thg thing up. if we could extend this, it would be under a year. if the president would do that, we could be done by the end of the week. >> we are going to take a quick break. the house speaker meeting with top deputies to try to pull off a vote to raise the debt ceiling and cut spending. when we come back, we'll check on the reporters. stay with us. hey, the new guy is loaded with protein!
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[ male announcer ] think, type, go. with just type. the biggest question in washington tonight is this, can he get the votes. john boehner wants to raise the
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debt ceiling and cut spending. the vote was supposed to be a few hours ago but the speaker is shy. what is he doing to get the magic number? >> they are in the wicks office talking to members this evening. i tell you, while it has been a little while, of course, since they were supposed to have the vote and it's been delayed, this evening, a spokesman for eric cantor told my colleague the vote will be tonight. i tell you, i doubt they are going to take to the floor until they are sure they have enough votes to pass this. >> brew the coffee. it looks like we are going into the night. gloria, hard for the speaker to pull this out from the floor. his credibility, perhaps his job would be at steak. >> yeah. this is somebody who sounded last night and this morning like
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he had the votes. i think what we are learning is how difficult it is for a house speaker to twist arms of people elected outside the establishment and people who really don't care, in many ways, if they are not re-elected. you can't say to them, i'm going to punish you. i'm not going to get you campaign funds. they believe they came here to do one thing. the budget cuts are not large enough for them. they wanted something more transformational. this is small potatoes. you might ask the question, why didn't they take the president's grand bargain he was working on with the speaker, but that's another story. >> that is another story. james is still with us. in the bill clinton days, he sparred but in the end, they had a plan that led to, at least briefly, a balanced budget. welfare reforms. what is different now? why is it so hard for this
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democratic president to work things out? >> we are in very difficult economic times. it started in december, 2007 and they continue today. there's less money to go around. it was easier then because we were in prosperous times. people's nerves are frayed right now. the other thing is, you have 25 -- a certain element of the republican party came and they are not going with anything. the larger story here is, even if he gets the votes for his plan, it's almost impossible that anything else can pass the house. anything that the senate does, that they will kill it anyway. there's a significant number of house republicans and a significant number of people involved in the party that say it wouldn't be that big of a deal if we default. we have enough money to pay
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things. i suspect they are wrong but it's what they believe. so, this is going to be a very -- even if he passes it tonight, it's the beginning of the end or the end of the beginning or something. we still have a long way to go. >> the beginning of something, we assume by the way washington works, the republicans pass their plan, the democrats decline it, reid brings his plan. then they have to negotiate. where is this heading with august 2nd looming around the corner? >> there's an artificial deadline. we all keep saying default. only the president can default. we have revenue coming in. only the president by willfully failing to pay bondholders, they default. that's the argument that some are making. this is artificial.
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the reason our credit rating is in jeopardy is not because of the vote on the debt ceiling. when we have this and we will have it, we will lift the ceiling and nobody is going to be happy with it. it doesn't eradicate it. gloria is right, they got elected because they don't care about getting re-elected. they care about doing what they came to do, get the government under control. it's different from 94. the death of this president has run up to no good consequences, there's no work. we have quadrupled our debt. people want that stopped. >> mary -- >> that argument goes on. >> you know, mary, if there's going to be a deal cut, they are poisoned and partisan. you have to come up with a hybrid. the end, you are going to lose the freshmen pu

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CNN July 28, 2011 7:00pm-8:00pm EDT

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